Background and study aims
Hypoglycaemia is a condition usually experienced by people with diabetes when the level of sugar in the blood falls to a very low level. Hypoglycaemia is often caused by the medication people with diabetes take but it can also be caused by exercise, diet and having other conditions as well as diabetes. Hypoglycaemia causes symptoms such as tiredness and dizziness but can also cause very serious symptoms such as loss of consciousness and can even be fatal if it is not treated. In some parts of the UK, ambulance staff who attend patients with hypoglycaemia can refer them to a new care pathway aimed at preventing further episodes of hypoglycaemia. As part of this care pathway, ambulance staff give the patient’s details to a nurse who is specially trained in helping people with diabetes. This nurse then contacts the patient by phone to talk about why the person had hypoglycaemia and how they can avoid it in the future. If necessary, the nurse may arrange an out-patient appointment or request that the patients’ medication is changed. There have been small studies of this care pathway to see whether it is effective at preventing further episodes of hypoglycaemia. Although the results have been promising, more data needs to be collected to see if the care pathway can be set up in new areas and prevent future episodes of hypoglycaemia and improve overall outcomes for patients.